The Limetree Festival 2009

Rebecca Ryder | Thursday, 20 August 2009

The Limetree Festival 2009

The term 'festival' implies something different from its early incarnation of Woodstock. Gone are the days of 'free love' being a principal concern, with chilled enjoyment of the arts now the main pursuit. Well, almost.

In an age where countless new festivals set up camp every year, with the same acts doing the rounds like a Faliraki luggage conveyor, Limetree comes as a breath of fresh (albeit manure-tinged) air.

Set in the grounds of Limetree Farm in north Yorkshire, the festival opened its gates only last year, but already has a Best New Festival nomination under its belt. It transports guests back to a time when the world believed we could all make love and not war. You'd be forgiven for feeling bemused over a field whose grass you can still see. The audience, a mixed bag of small groups of friends, bohemian dancers and families with no qualms about bringing children to this non-threatening environment, watch the performances with expressions of pure unadulterated enjoyment.

Saturday had seen glorious sunshine perfect for festival frolicking, and although Sunday was a somewhat different matter, the mood was still more relaxed than could ever be found squashed between thousands of cider-fuelled Kasabian fans at V.

Despite the rain, DJ Jim Heb had the crowd giving their best moves to his euphoric Northern Soul set, their cares washed away as their faith was kept. Over on the Jason Rae stage, young Liverpudlians Camera Club held the crowd's attention with their rousing instrumentation and strong vocals. Becks and the Bullets and The Gillyflowers provided earlier highlights. Goldie Lookin' Chain filled the headline slot and supplied a typically manic show, including their Radio One favourites (around two broadcastable songs).

After interesting acoustic performances on the Stone Circle Field from Mozo and Fiona Katie (not your ordinary harpist), the two closing acts on the Green Man Stage offered plenty enough to convert the average reveller to more nostalgic music events. Gwen Dickey's Rose Royce recalled a time when disco ruled, with the boogieing at an energetic peak. Chunky Butt Funky, led by former preacher Cleve 'Rev Chunky' Freckleton, brought Limetree to an ecstatically soulful end, with their "love vibe" spread across the field like Nutella on toast.

So the consumerist festival may be all-ruling, but it's nice to know there are places like Limetree waiting to welcome with open arms those who'd rather escape the musical rat race.